Following his first round at the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship Els blasted Woods saying, “It’s selfish. You can write that. I feel sorry for the sponsor. Monday’s are a good day to make statements, not Friday. This takes a lot away from the golf tournament.”
Steinberg also called Accenture – which dropped its endorsement deal with Woods on Dec. 13 – shortly before Wednesday’s announcement to inform officials they had intentionally scheduled the news conference outside the television window for third-round play.
“(Steinberg) spoke with CMO Roxanne Taylor,” said Fred Hawrysh, director of corporate communication for Accenture. “It wasn’t a long conversation and he just called to give us a heads up and let us know the timing was set not to overlap with the event.”
|Note: A Golf Central Special Report will air live Friday at 10:30 a.m. ET and will include Tiger Woods' announcement at 11 a.m. The Golf Central Special Report will be streamed live on GolfChannel.com.|
Friday’s gathering at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla., is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. (ET), while third-round tee times are scheduled to begin at noon (MT), more than three hours after Woods’ announcement.
“These are two very separate events,” Hawrysh said. “We don’t feel slighted at all.”
As for why Woods had to hold the conference on Friday the most popular speculation is that he plans to play next week’s Waste Management Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., and would need to hold court before the 5 p.m. (ET) Friday commitment deadline.
Waste Management tournament director David Rauch said he has not heard any news from either the Woods camp or the Tour but added, “I don’t want to fuel the speculation here, but I wouldn’t expect to hear anything.”
Rauch also said from a crowd point of view he is not worried about any potential bump Woods would cause, noting that attendance ranges from 50,000 on Wednesday to 160,000 on Saturday at TPC Scottsdale.
The bigger concern is the influx of extra media that would descend on the event if Woods plays. Currently the Waste Management press center can hold 80 scribes, compared with 448 spots in the Match Play press center, and there are already 70 seats spoken for.
“I don’t want to make light of this, but we could do it,” Rauch said. “We could move some trailers in for extra space if needed.”